Each Saturday, May through October, the streets of downtown Ellensburg host a number of farmers and merchants at the Kittitas Valley Farmer’s Market. The vendors range from local farmers and ranchers to craftsmen and women from all over the state of Washington, all selling local goods such as produce, dairy and meat, and handcrafted gifts. The chimpanzees of CHCI enjoy fresh produce and a sponsored party seemed like the perfect way to fund some delicious local treats.
For my birthday this year, my grandmother donated some money to sponsor a party for the chimpanzees of CHCI. Instead of purchasing the usual snacks and decorations, I decided instead to use the money to purchase enough produce for two extra forages, one fruit and one vegetable forage. In support of the local farmers and the local economy, I purchased all of the fruits and vegetables pictured below at the Kittitas Valley Farmer’s Market.
The produce all came from local farms in the Kittitas Valley. From unique hybrid peaches from a farm in Selah to the juicy grape tomatoes from the Kittitas Valley Greenhouse here in Ellensburg, the chimpanzees were able to sample the best that Washington has to offer of natural, good-tasting, sun-ripened produce.
For the vegetable forage, which was served to the chimpanzees in containers after their usual lunch, the chimpanzees tasted colorful swiss chard, three colors of grape tomatoes, and fresh fennel.
For the fruit forage, which was served after breakfast the next day, volunteers cut up fresh pluots (an apricot-plum hybrid from a local Ellensburg farm), white nectarines, a whole small cantaloupe, and special “sugar crisp” apples and placed them in containers which were scattered in the West playroom. The fruit forage was met with many happy food grunts from the chimpanzees, especially Dar, who had grabbed the whole cantaloupe from the West room and enjoyed it outside in the sun in the outdoor enclosure.
“Farmer’s Market Day” was a success – the chimpanzees enjoyed a wide variety of fresh produce, most of which was different from the produce they eat daily. Whether vegetable or fruit, fresh Washington produce is a treat!